Its that time of year again when WWE honors its legends of the past with its annual Hall of Fame ceremony the night before Wrestlemania. With a few weeks still left before the ceremony and a near complete class I thought it would be good to go through the inductees and their legacy to WWE.
1: Bruno Sammartino: For years Sammartino was one of the major omissions from the WWE Hall Of Fame. Sammartino holds the record for the longest WWE title reign in history from May 17th 1963 after beating inagural champion Buddy Rogers in 17 seconds until he lost it to Ivan Koloff on January 21st 1971. Sammartinos first reign totaled 2803 days. Sammartino regained the title on December 10th 1973 beating Stan Stassiak whom was a transitional champion between Pedro Morales and Sammartino. The second Sammartino reign lasted 1237 days from December 10th 1973 till April 30th 1977. Many regard Sammartino as the greatest WWE Champion of all time. During Sammartinos run he headlined Madision Square Garden 130 times selling out 129.
2. Mick Foley: Most modern fans are probably more familar with Foley more so than Sammartino and Bob Backlund. Foley was one of WWEs top stars during the Wrestling Boom Period of the late 90s and early 00s. Foley won the WWE title 3 times in 1999 the most famous being his win over the Rock on January 4th 1999 which was revealed on WCW Nitro prior to its happening as RAW had been taped a week earlier. The mention of Foley winning the title caused roughly 600,000 viewers to switch to RAW to watch the main event. Foley as became known for his hardcore wrestling primarly in Japan and ECW. During his carer Foley gave birth to 3 different characters. First was Cactus Jack the utra violent hardcore wrestler. Once in the WWF in 1996 Foley created Mankind. A mentaly duranged lunatic who wore a hannibal lector mask. The mankind character changed from a duranged lunatic to a lovable guy in 1999. Lastly was Dude Love a cheesy hippy character which lakced the layers of Foleys previous two characters.
3, Bob Backlund: Chosen by Vince McMahon Sr to replace Bruno as the face of the WWWF. Backlund has the second longest reign as WWE champion winning the belt Feburary 20th 1978 from Superstar Billy Graham. Backlund would go onto hold the belt until December 26th 1983 when he lost the belt to The Iron Sheik at MSG. Though Backlund did lose the belt in laste 1979 to Antonio Inoki while in Japan though WWE no longer considers this an official change of belt. Following his lose to Sheik, Backlund faded out of the WWF in favor of Hulk Hogan who Vince McMahon Jr marketed as his main megastar throughout the 1980s. Baclund returned to the WWF in 1992 keeping his same look and persona as his prior WWF run. Backlund stayed primarly in the midcard apart from a record setting 61:10 in the 1993 Royal Rumble a record that would stand for 11 years. In 1994 Backlund turned heel and became a lunatic middle aged man. Backlund would go onto win his 2nd official WWF title at Survior Series in 1994 by beating Bret Hart in an I Quit Match. Backlund would only keep the title for 3 days as he would loose to Diesel at MSG. After that Backlund once again faded away from WWE programming besides a series of vignettes in 1995 with Backlund running for president.
4. Booker T: Much like Foley, Booker T will be a performer most current fans will remember. Booker T got his first natinal notice in WCW while teaming with his brother Stevie Ray as Harlem Heat. Harlem Hear would go onto win the WCW World Tag Team Titles 10 times ans the WCW TV Tag Titles 7 times. Following the break up of the team Booker went onto singles competition. Booker held the WCW TV title 6 times, The WCW US Title Once and became a 5 time WCW Champion during the companies dying days including a win on the final edition of WCW Monday Nitro against Scott Steiner. Booker joined the WWE at the start of the Invasion angle in mid 2001. He entered as the reigning WCW champion and made his debut during the 2001 King Of The Ring event. Booker lost the title to Kurt Angle and never re-gained the title back. Following the Invasion Booker was placed in the mid card for most of his WWE tenure. Booker became a 3 time IC champion, A 1 time US Champion, A 3 time tag champion and the 2006 King Of The Ring. Following his King Of The Ring victory Booker won the WWE version of the World Heavyweight Championship by beating Rey Mysterio. Booker left WWE in 2007 to join TNA Wrestling. In 2011 Booker made a return to WWE at the Royal Rumble. Following the Rumble Booker became the color commentator on WWE Firday Night Smackdown. In 2012 Booker became the GM of Smackdown.
5. Trish Stratus: Regarded as the best women wrestler in WWE history or well their current version of history. Stratus led what many consider the peak of womens wrestling in WWE during the mid 2000s. Bought into WWF in 1999, Stratus became a manager in 2000 to Test and Albert. Following the break up of the team she began an angle with Vince McMahon which led to a match between her and Stephanie McMahon at No Way Out 2001. Stratus didnt really begin to make noise waves until 2002 when WWE began to bolster its Women’s division particularly on the RAW brand. Stratus along with the likes of Lita, Victoria,Molly Holly and Jazz began putting on some of the best women’s matches in the history of WWE. Stratus and Lita headlines the December 6th 2004 RAW. Stratus had her best feud in 2006 with Mickie James who portrayed a psycho stalker whom defeated Stratus at Wrestlemania 22. Stratus retired later in 2006 following the Unforgiven event in her home town Toronto in which she won the Women’s Title one final time recording her 7th Women’s Title. Since her retirement from full time wrestling Stratus has returned for sporadic appearances and matches for WWE.
6. Donald Trump: This years Celebrity inductee is one of the more deserving ones unlike Drew Carey in 2011. Trump hosted two WrestleMania events in the 80s at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Intersting connection seeing WrestleMania returns to New Jersey in 2013. Trump returned to WWE in 2007 as part of the WrestleMania 23 main event in which both Trump and Vince McMahon put their hair up in a match in which Trump was represented by Bobby Lashley against McMahon’s Umaga. Lashley won meaning Trump kept his famous hair and McMahon was shaved bald. Trump returned in 2009 to “purchase raw” from McMahon. The following Week McMahon “paid double the price” to purchase Raw back from Trump. Since then Trump has not made a WWE appearance. Trumps Main Event at WrestleMania 23 helped propel it to become the largest WrestleMania buy rate of all time drawing 1.25 Million Buys World Wide